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The Next Revolution in the Accounting Industry

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The next revolution in the accounting industry, after the advent of
computers and software, has some strange characteristics. This revolution
could kill quite a few accounting practices while create fortunes for
those that survive. Many accountants are quite unaware of this coming
revolution while they alert ones are taking advantage of it and running
ahead with it. Very soon they will be way ahead and out of reach for
others to catch on.


Article Body:
Every industry goes through its natural phases of transformation. As time
goes, new technology becomes available, and new processes are developed.
Internal and external factors contribute to the transformation process of
all industries. Accounting industry is not an exception.

      Only a few years ago very few accountants used software to prepare
tax returns for their clients. Some even considered it a pride that they
were smart enough to prepare tax returns without using software. Within a
few short years, almost every accountant in the country uses some kind of
tax preparation software to prepare tax returns. Now it is not a question
of whether an accountant uses software to prepare tax returns, but of
which software the accountant is using. Times have changed significantly
in the accounting industry. Observant accountants may notice how fast
things changed in their industry.

      Unlike only a few years ago, it is almost unimaginable how any
accounting practice could function and survive without computers and
accounting software. There is probably not a single accounting practice
in the country that operates without computers and software for tax and
accounting. Only a few years ago, a large number of accountants did not
consider computers or software as something that would be able to enter
their industry. They thought nothing would replace their ability to
prepare a tax return. They thought nothing could replace their ability to
balance a trial balance and prepare financial statements out of it. Their
denial has turned into widespread acceptance within a short time.

      Accountants are now in a new phase of denial. This time they deny
that it is ever possible for an accounting practice to operate without
papers. They deny that it is ever going to be possible for accountants to
operate without papers, period. There has been a lot of talk about
paperless offices coming for years. Numerous articles have described how
the world will change with paperless business operations. However, the
predictions have not come true at the speed people were expecting. The
topic lost its attraction over time. Thus, the denial of accountants that
there could ever be a paperless office for them is justified.

      The fact is that the paperless office is sneaking up on us. The
technology that is required to convert business operations into paperless
operations has become remarkably affordable. Small CPA practices can now
go paperless with an investment of as little as $2,000, on their own.
Times have changed significantly in this area but unfortunately,
accountants are not noticing this trend.

      The technology is available, affordable and quick. Yet there are
thousands of accountants in the country, who are not even aware of this
change coming in their industry. Just like it is unimaginable that an
accounting practice could operate without computers and software today,
within a few short years, it will be unimaginable that an accounting
practice operates WITH PAPER.

      The nature of this change is such that it could be devastating for
many accounting practices. When accounting and tax software came about
the process of adopting the change was not that difficult. You could go
forward with a new way to operate very easily. You would purchase the
software, train yourself and start using it, going forward.

      Going paperless, however, is a culture change of a great magnitude.
It brings about major changes in the way the offices work. It requires a
major change in work flow processes. The conversion process also requires
good planning and implementation. Conversion is not difficult but it does
require special planning and attention. There is a significant revolution
brewing in the accounting industry, unnoticed by many, which could damage
and kill many small accounting practices, while make fortunes for others.
It is the paperless revolution that could bury a few accountants under
their own papers.

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